Dreaming in the night,
shadows leafed in the night’s
foliage, boughs groaned
under the quaking of limbs.
And where the ground
first pulsed, dendrites
branched in the cells
of stone, and earth
spun rings within the wood.
He slept within earshot of the
rasping canopies, and in his bones
felt leaves shake loose within him.
Waking in the conch
his body had made in the soil,
he wedged himself
against the barbed splints
of the cold, coughed up
leaf bits, tinder and seed,
then sat upright to chew on
the frost set hard upon his teeth.
He felt his innards thaw,
and in the bulbed reflection
of the scattered dew, the
green of his eyes had greyed.
Out of the moss wood
and clear of the canopies,
he walked where the sun
had clipped the edges
of wood and field,
through the still-blooms,
within the harvest
communes of grass.
The wind had pull,
had undertow. And where
the cross-fields split
he moved within its realm.
Stepping lightly, hesitantly,
as if moving over rocks
across twinning waters,
the hull of his limbs a keel,
sidelong and adrift through
the silted gorge, he slipped
down the dark lip of a ravine
where the earth had bottomed
out to a stony spring. And tracing
it back to its seedbed, its trickled
source—cupping the bedrock—
he drank from the cobbled stone.
It plumes from the fire’s red hearth,
sends up its flag of stored aeons
and multifarious resins in a surly
blue charred blaze. Rain-cloud dark
and feather weight, it leaks from any
pooled heat or gone-to-ground tinder
along the craquelure of lost leaves,
rising tightly at first in a single plait
before shaking out its winter hair.
Severed from the flint of sparked
stone or better reaped in plain view
with a lens, I think of it as what
passes for benediction; the tenured
door through which seasons pass,
a time tempered passage, altered
in the balmy stint of its own making—
its own becoming. Or as a stray lamb
bleating in the woods, casting out
a semaphoric hymn beyond its herd.
Somewhere lost among the welcome
arms of the woodland trees I see it,
adrift in a smock of ribbons, and set
amid the downy blueprint of allegory,
charted, in the aftermath of flame.
© Todd Turner 2012